Olivia de Havilland Sues Ryan Murphy & FX Over 'Feud' Portrayal

Nick Sanchez
July 3, 2017

Two-time Oscar victor Dame Olivia de Havilland sued the FX cable channel and show runner Ryan Murphy's production company Friday, claiming that their mini-series "Feud: Bette and Joan" invades her privacy and falsely depicts her as a "petty gossip".

De Havilland was portrayed by Catherine Zeta-Jones in Feud, which starred Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford and Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis.

De Havilland, who won two Academy Awards, began her movie career after director Max Reinhardt saw her in a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and cast her in his 1935 film version of the play.

According to Ms.de Havilland's lawyer, "FX defendants misappropriated Olivia de Havilland's name, likeness and identity without her permission and used them falsely in order to exploit their own commercial interests".

Mr. Murphy, the creator of "Feud", told the The Hollywood Reporter in April that he did not contact de Havilland about her portrayal in the series.

But the real-life de Havilland says that such an interview never took place. Vanity Fair points out that Bette Davis' daughter, portrayed in the show by Kiernan Shipka, is also alive.

"Feud: Bette and Joan" opens with Zeta Jones, as de Havilland, doing an interview, which gives the impression that the actress sold gossip to promote herself.

It argues that putting "false statements into a living person's mouth and damaging their reputation is not protected by the First Amendment because the work is cloaked as fiction".

Olivia de Havilland, two-time Best Actress Oscar victor and silver screen icon, is coming out of retirement for one last prize fight.

"Each FX defendant knew "Feud" would be more successful if they placed an individual like Olivia de Havilland, who is known for her honesty and integrity, at the forefront of the story", writes Smith.

Her lawyers are asking for an expedited trial date because of the actress's age. It also seeks to prevent the network from using her name and image in any series in the future. De Havilland is no stranger to standing up for principles against the powerful Hollywood film industry, her attorneys said.

Despite the fact that de Havilland hadn't seen the show, she voiced her disapproval of it to Feinberg.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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